Monday, September 23, 2019

CBS Fall Pilot Review: Bob Hearts Abishola - Premieres Monday (Sept. 23); ABC Fall Pilot Review: mixed-ish - Premieres Tuesday (Sept. 24)

Bob Hearts Abishola

Bob Hearts Abishola - Mondays at 8:30 PM ET/PT on CBS
Premieres Monday, September 23, 2019 at 8:30PM ET/PT


by Skees

Billy Gardell is set to star in a CBS romantic comedy from Chuck Lorre! No, it's not 2010 and the day of the season premiere of Mike & Molly, it's a new CBS romantic comedy starring Billy Gardell, also from Chuck Lorre, this time called Bob Hearts Abishola. Now, no longer a police officer, Billy Gardell gets to play a sock salesman who has a heart attack and falls in love with the nurse who treated him at the hospital. But it's not going to be easy to get her to show those same feelings. Will she? Well, we kind of doubt that this series would go far if she didn't, but you'll have to watch what happens in Bob Hearts Abishola.

Cast Details:

Billy Gardell as Bob
Folake Olowofoyeku as Abishola
Christine Ebersole as Dottie
Matt Jones as Douglas
Maribeth Monroe as Christina
Vernee Watson as Gloria
Shola Adewusi as Olu
Barry Shabaka Henley as Tunde

Billy Gardell (Bob) is best known for his role of Mike on the CBS sitcom, Mike & Molly. He also had recurring roles in Yes, Dear and My Name is Earl, and currently recurs as Herschel Sparks on Young Sheldon.

Folake Olowofoyeku (Abishola) is a Nigerian actress who has appeared in series including Transparent, 30 Rock, and Modern Family, among other series.

Christine Ebersole (Dottie) plays Bob's mother in the series. Ebersole was a cast member on Saturday Night Live for one season in the early 80s (the "lost" years), and also appeared in Valerie, Sullivan & Son, and numerous other guest roles in other sitcoms, as well as a few short-lived sitcoms of her own.

Matt Jones (Douglas) plays Bob's brother. He is best known for his role of Baxter on Mom, but has also appeared on The Office, Breaking Bad, and other series.

Maribeth Monroe (Christina) is best known for her role of Alice on Workaholics. She has also had roles in The Good Place and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Vernee Watson (Gloria) has had a long career in TV, first playing Verna Jean Williams on Welcome Back, Kotter. She also appeared in both seasons of Carter Country, but is known to more contemporary audiences as Aunt Vy from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Nurse Althea on The Big Bang Theory.

Shola Adewusi (Olu) is new to American audiences, but she has had a career in British TV and film for the past two decades.

Barry Shabaka Henley (Tunde) is an American actor who has appeared in recurring roles in early 90s sitcoms including The Royal Family and Roc.


Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs September 23 at 8:30PM ET)

In the pilot episode, we meet Bob, a sock salesman who has a heart attack and encounters nurse Abishola in the hospital. Being lonely in life, Bob begins to get to know Abishola and begins to having romantic feelings for her, but does she feel the same way?

"Nigerians Don't Do Useless Things" (Airs September 30 at 8:30PM ET)

Bob is still doing everything he can to get Abishola to like him, but an extra challenge comes along when Abishola's aunt and uncle get involved.

"A Bird May Love Fish" (Airs October 7 at 8:30PM ET)

Bob wants to get to know Abishola a bit better, and attempts to do so by getting to know her culture a little better.


Analysis:

So Mike and Molly with a Nigerian woman as Molly, and Molly being resistant at first? That's the first thing that I thought when I heard about this show and even in watching the few episodes. But Abishola is no Molly at all. I really like the character, and she is nothing like anything that we see regularly on a sitcom. But I kind of wonder if this would be the series that will make her name recognizable, or if she'll be known "that Nigerian lady on that one show." She is very likable and a good actress, so even if this series is a bust, she might be able to springboard a career out of it that is bigger than just the bit parts she has mostly played up until this point.

In fact, it isn't just Olowofoyeku. This series has a great cast that seems to go together pretty well. And of course, Billy Gardell is an actor who is meant for a broadcast network sitcom, so he fits right in place here. It's also nice to see some faces that have been around for a while, such as Christine Ebersole and Vernee Watson.

Like most Chuck Lorre sitcoms, it doesn't exactly bring out big laughs or even a well-written script for that matter. But that's not always necessary. It's one of those shows that you can just kind of sit down and watch while you do something else and enjoy. If you miss a moment, you won't miss much, but you can still follow along with the story.


Conclusion:

Basically, it's another Chuck Lorre sitcom. You either love them or you hate them (personally I'm somewhere on the fence as they can be funny, but also tend to bring out all of the most annoying things that one can find in a broadcast network sitcom), but regardless, most series with his name on it have had a history of success. Broadcast TV is where he belongs, as his critically panned Netflix series Disjointed proved (though The Kominsky Method is going a bit better), and this could potentially be something that we see on the air for years to come if it attracts that CBS sitcom audience. Airing on the lineup after The Neighborhood, another sitcom that deals with people from different backgrounds, may also be good to keep it going. I don't think this is going to be my favorite new show of the season and I'm not even sure that I'll watch it regularly, but I'll certainly check in on it from time to time.


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3.5/5
Funniness: 3/5
Overall: 4/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Monday, September 23, 2019 at 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • CBS.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Bob Hearts Abishola Photo Gallery

    Preview:

    mixed-ish

    mixed-ish - Tuesdays at 9:00PM ET/PT on ABC
    Premieres Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at 9:00PM ET/PT


    by Pavan

    The black-ish franchise expands with its newest spinoff mixed-ish, coming to ABC this Tuesday. Rainbow Johnson recounts her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the '80s, and the dilemmas they face to acclimate in the suburbs while staying true to themselves. Bow's parents Paul and Alicia decide to move from a hippie commune to the suburbs to better provide for their family. As her parents struggle with the challenges of their new life, Bow and her siblings navigate a mainstream school in which they're perceived as neither black nor white. This family's experiences illuminate the challenges of finding one’s own identity when the rest of the world can't decide where you belong.

    Cast Details:


  • Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Paul Johnson
    Tika Sumpter as Alicia Johnson
    Christina Anthony as Denise
    Arica Himmel as Bow Johnson
    Ethan William Childress as Johan Johnson
    Mykal-Michelle Harris as Santamonica Johnson
    Gary Cole as Harrison Johnson

    Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Paul) made his television debut as Zack Morris in the popular teen sitcom Saved by the Bell. Since then, he has had an extensive and successful television career starring in a number of shows, including last season on The Passage and Pitch for Fox; ABC's Commander in Chief, alongside Geena Davis; the critically acclaimed ABC classic drama NYPD Blue; TNT's Raising the Bar; and TNT's Franklin & Bash with Breckin Meyer.

    Tika Sumpter (Alicia) has established herself as one of Hollywood's rising talents. She most recently starred in David Lowery's The Old Man & The Gun, opposite Robert Redford, Danny Glover and Sissy Spacek; Tyler Perry's Nobody's Fool, opposite Tiffany Haddish; and the independent feature An Acceptable Loss, opposite Jamie Lee Curtis. Next, Sumpter will star in Paramount's Sonic the Hedgehog, alongside Jim Carrey and James Marsden. Sumpter is known for her work on OWN's highest-rated series The Haves and the Have Nots. She stars as Candace Young in the one-hour drama written, directed and produced by Tyler Perry. She can also be heard on the new hit TBS animated show Final Space with Fred Armisen. Her past television credits include the CW's Gossip Girl, BET's The Game and the Daytime Emmy Award-winning soap opera One Life to Live, which garnered her an NAACP Image Award nomination.

    Christina Anthony (Denise) is a multitalented actress, writer, vocalist and improviser. She is originally from the Chicago comedy scene and is best known as an alum of the Second City e.t.c. Chicago, where she co-wrote three award-nominated sketch revues and performed thousands of shows for Chicago audiences. Her favorite on-camera roles as an actress include Key & Peele (Comedy Central), Mash Up (Comedy Central), Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ (Seeso), Take My Wife (Seeso), Bunk'd (Disney), Why Women Kill (CBS All Access), ER (NBC) and The Dilemma (Universal).

    Arica Himmel (Bow) was born and raised in New York City, where she made her theatrical debut off-Broadway in The Layover (Second Stage Theatre). Himmel guest-starred on God Friended Me and recurred on Thanksgiving with Amy Sedaris and Chris Elliott. She played a supporting role in Before You Know It with Mandy Patinkin and Mike Colter, which premiered in competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

    Ethan William Childress (Johan) was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, as the youngest child of four. He was enrolled in a charter school for the arts and began to thrive as an actor, eventually realizing that this was his calling. He decided to give up playing on a competitive soccer team to focus on acting, and it was soon after that his parents enrolled him in an actor showcase to help him pursue it full time.

    Mykal-Michelle Harris (Santamonica) is a bright young face in Hollywood, who can be seen in HBO's Big Little Lies as young Bonnie. She is known for her roles on A Kid Called Mayonnaise, Little Big Shots and The Affair, as well as multiple festival short films. Harris was born in New Jersey and discovered her love for acting at a very young age. When she was just 3 years old, she recorded a viral video, "Like Serena," that landed her on CNN and Good Morning America, and catapulted her into the industry with runway shows and global commercials.

    Gary Cole (Harrison) was most recently seen in the seventh and final season of award-winning HBO series Veep, starring opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfuss. Best known for his film roles in classic cult comedies such as Office Space, Pineapple Express, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Gary Cole is a veteran of both the screen and the stage. Additional film credits include American Pastime, Breach, The Ring 2, Crazy in Love, Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!, I Spy, One Hour Photo, The Gift, A Simple Plan, Kiss the Sky, The Brady Bunch Movie and Clint Eastwood's In the Line of Fire.


    Pilot Plot:

    "Becoming Bow" (airs Tuesday, September 24 at 9:00PM ET/PT)

    Young Rainbow Johnson recounts her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the '80s, and the dilemmas they face to acclimate in the suburbs while staying true to themselves. Bow's parents, Paul and Alicia, decide to move from a hippie commune to the suburbs to better provide for their family. Their experiences illuminate the challenges of finding one's own identity when the rest of the world can’t decide where you belong. black-ish stars guest star: Anthony Anderson as Andre "Dre" Johnson, Tracee Ellis Ross as Rainbow Johnson, Laurence Fishburne as Pops, Marcus Scribner as Andre Johnson Jr., Miles Brown as Jack Johnson and Marsai Martin as Diane Johnson.

    Analysis:

    This spin-off of black-ish is set in 1985 when Bow was 12 years old. This episode was originally slated to be backdoor pilot episode inside of black-ish last season, but ABC held it to be the actual pilot episode of mixed-ish. It follows the Johnson family and being a mixed family in the '80s. The Johnsons were living in a commune but now are moving to the suburbs, where interracial families weren't as common. Bow's parents were one of the first interracial couples in the country to get married and also have children, so this tackles some serious topics. Bow has two younger siblings, as we know from black-ish, Johan and Santamonica.

    The pilot episode sets up the tone and vibe of this comedy very nicely. The entire family has great chemistry and Arica Himmel, who plays Bow, is outstanding. Mark-Paul and Tika are great as Bow's parents and just as good as Beau Bridges and Anna Deavere Smith portray on black-ish. Although they don't really look like each other, especially Tika and Anna. The kids who play Johan and Santamonica are also fantastic and do Daveed Diggs and Rashida Jones justice from black-ish. The great Gary Cole as Harrison is superb as well from a character we didn't know much about yet.

    Conclusion:

    The pilot is pretty funny and pretty serious. It tackles hot topics and will be in the same vein as black-ish. However, I think this show could go even farther since it is set in the '80s. This is probably the best new comedy and certainly will be critically acclaimed over any other new comedy this season. Maria Carey does the opening theme "in the Mix." The series is going to be anchoring Tuesday nights on ABC at 9pm, so it will be actually leading into black-ish. That's a bold but smart move as mixed-ish could really shine in both quality and ratings. There should be no mixed feelings in watching mixed-ish. It should be on everyone's must-watch list!

    Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

    Watchability: 4/5
    Funniness: 3.5/5
    Overall: 4/5

    Discuss the show after you watch it on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at 9:00PM ET/PT on our message board.

    Related Links:

  • ABC Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • mixed-ish Photo Gallery

    Preview:


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    Sunday, January 17

    The Simpsons - "The Road to Cincinnati" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
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    Friday, January 15

    • Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life on Deck/The Suite Life of Zack & Cody/Grace Under Fire) - Watch Cole on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
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